Author Topic: No one ever knew....  (Read 692 times)

Retiring_early_in_EastTN

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No one ever knew....
« on: July 12, 2019, 03:54:06 PM »
Last week my uncle, by marriage, passed away after a a few months of illness. He was elderly, but went down very quickly. I wasn't particularly close to him, but my dad is close to his sister (my aunt.) She found out that he had a HELOC on their jointly owned house and had been using it to pay their taxes to the tune of 60K. She doesn't remember signing off on this, but we are pretty sure she had to since the house in both of their names. The house is clear other than the HELOC. Upon running a credit check, that my dad encouraged her to run, she found out he has several, several credit cards. The highest being 32k and the lowest being 9k. All of these are individual and her name is not on any of those. We are trying to find out the details of the HELOC, but we are having to wait on the death certificate for her to be able to have access to information.

It's the weekend and we are left to wait and worry for her. The house is well worth 300k and I feel pretty certain the bank will try to collect on that since it's a secured date, but does anyone know how the issue with the credit cards will go? There is no money in his estate except for 10K (which she is using for the funeral) and a life insurance policy of 100k. We've thought about using that for the HELOC, but that leaves her with very little to live on. She only has her social security. The pension went with him.

We are all just stunned about this and had no idea the position he was in nor did she. Yes, she should have been more involved in the fiances, but obviously she wasn't and here we are.

Any advice would be helpful. She had a friend attorney come by and tell her just to go ahead and go through probate. She probably needs to meet with a lawyer more formally....

Thank you in advance.

MrThatsDifferent

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Re: No one ever knew....
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2019, 05:05:41 PM »
Not legal advice here, always good to consult a lawyer about this. Knowing what I know now, Iíd figure out a way to deal with the HELOC, canít get out of that one. But the credit cards, if not in her name and signed by her, I send then the death certificates and refuse to assume the debt. Again, check with a lawyer for your state.

AMandM

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Re: No one ever knew....
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2019, 05:13:58 PM »
I am so sorry!

I believe the credit card debt is just a loss to the issuers, since the estate has no assets with which to pay them. I'm assuming the house passes directly to your aunt outside of probate since it is jointly owned. Life insurance benefits are not part of the estate, because they didn't belong to your uncle.

If your aunt can't manage the payments on the HELOC on her now reduced income, you're probably right that the bank can force a sale. Unfortunately, it sounds like your aunt might need to sell anyway; if her husband needed the HELOC to cover taxes, then presumably she won't be able to pay them herself. Unless maybe she can get a reverse mortgage? I don't know much about those.

I am glad your aunt has you and others to look out for her.

CarolinaGirl

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Re: No one ever knew....
« Reply #3 on: July 13, 2019, 06:46:03 AM »
Not sure if this helps you but there is good information on this site: 
https://www.consumerfinance.gov/ask-cfpb/am-i-responsible-to-pay-off-the-debts-of-my-deceased-spouse-en-1467/